The Chasm to Prince George

I read for several hours Saturday night, well past sunset, and as it got chillier I moved to the bed where I read some more, until almost 11. I was given some great books by a supplier at the gas station, a fellow Quebecer in exile, including a trilogy that I have wanted to read for some time. A quiet night at the Chasm was the perfect time to start on them!

There was a surprise waiting for me in bed:

it’s rare I catch them together like that!

The night was dark and cold; I slept like a log and woke up around 6:30. It was very cold in the rig, so I climbed down, turned on the furnace, then went back to bed with my book for about a half hour until things warmed up.

I went out for a brisk walk to the creek and back before breakfast, savouring that crisp cold Chasm-morning air, listening to the ravens caw and watching the light change over that vast green hole I love so much.

morning at the Chasm

path down to the creek

Breakfast was a good cup of coffee and half of Mrs. H’s banana bread. Yum!

I rolled out of the Chasm around 8, after dealing with a leveler that jumped up after I rolled off it. It jammed itself in the dirt and wedged in next to the exhaust pipe. I surveyed matters for a second and decided that forcing Miranda forward would at worst knock my exhaust pipe loose.  It didn’t, but the leveler nearly snapped in two!

There was a lot of ground to cover today if I wanted to get to Prince George at a reasonable hour, so I drove straight through to 100 Mile House. I remembered from last year that the Save-on-Foods there has pretty good access and would be my best place to stock up on groceries before Whitehorse.

This is where my day went to hell in the proverbial handbasket (whatever that means). I had to figure out how to fit this:

awesome deals!

into this:

As it turns out, like so:

packaging takes up a lot of space!

I had checked the status of the freezer before going into the store, but some deals were just too good to pass up. The cashier swiped my member’s card first, so all my card savings were applied immediately, about $16 worth, bringing my total grocery order to $240, which was reasonable for what I bought. I find that Save-on’s prices are generally on the high side to make being a member seem like a good deal. I’m not sure what they get from members since the card is free, but occasionally the card makes a huge difference, like it would today. Once my order was tallied up the cashier added my members only coupons that are applied on top of the card discount. My total dropped down to $175! They claim that I got a $64 discount, but I think it was closer to $40 compared to no frills stores. Still a good deal!

And I might have done well with the freezer and fridge, but I ran out of pantry space and had to tuck excess stuff into the ‘spare’ cabinet under the dishwasher. Note to self: that’s where the chicken gumbo’s at! 😀

I got some work done in the parking lot there, but it was very busy and I decided to try my luck with the internet at the next rest area at 108 Mile House Ranch. There, I got a slow signal and was able to put in a good hour’s worth of work before having lunch.

Then, I drove. The sinuous roads of the Cariboo slowly gave way to the longer straight stretches of the Fraser Fort George. The weather alternated between blue sky and torrential downpour. Miranda groaned when going up and purred going down and everything was right with my world. I was heading north and everything was going so smoothly.

I was due for gas when I hit Quesnel, but there is only one gas station there I like and it was very busy. There was a note in last year’s Milepost that there is an easy access Race Trac station in Hixon, about halfway to Prince George, so I decided to push on to there. This was something I would never have done without a firm grasp of Miranda’s range vs. mark on the gas gauge. I have a 200L tank and took on 195L in Hixon!!!

From Hixon, it was an easy haul to Les’ spread outside of Prince George. I didn’t trust my GPS and decided to find his place by memory, remembering that I had to ‘turn left at the road with a friend’s name, right at the pink barn, and then keep left.’ I got there without incident (thank you, awesome brain cells!) and went down to the house. No one answered, so I unhooked and got Miranda squared away and reasonably level. I was just about to go back in when I heard noise from the house. I must have been quieter than I thought!

We caught up over a couple of beers then Les came up to look at my water heater and changed the probe. It performed perfectly for him but conked out minutes after he went home. Figures!

I’m so glad to be here and to have a day’s respite. I’ll put in a couple of hours worth of work tonight to finish up the week and tomorrow I will get a head start on next week’s since internet/cell access is going to get iffier and iffier. I’ll be moving out Tuesday; a day off is going to be welcome. I haven’t been on the road that long but the last few days have been very full.

Plans Undone and a Chasm Respite

I  had a pretty good night at the turnout even though I practically woke to a gale, with Miranda rocking back and forth. I had coffee and the rest of the bannock, then set off under a clear a sky at about 10.

My first stop of the day was Kitwanga where there is a side road that goes through ‘town’ and loops back to the Cassiar. I took this loop road because it announced a nearby Parks Canada site of a First Nations battleground. I enjoyed the walk down to and up the hill.

Lunch was had at a pull-out just before Smithers and then I headed to my destination for the night, an RV park just east of Houston, 300km shy of Prince George. I followed the signs for the park, all of which proclaimed it was open… except for the one after the last turn that ended in a shut gate.

I found myself in a situation not unlike that back in Manitoba, caught in a turn where I couldn’t unhook. This time, backing up with the toad and doing a million point turn wasn’t even an option seeing as the road was very narrow and bordered by ditches. The only possibility I could see was to cross a culvert and turn around in a big field. I got out and checked the culvert, finding it sturdy. The field was pot holey and definitely not a place I would have voluntarily taken Miranada and the toad into, but I felt confident that I could get turned around without doing any damage or having to unhook. I was right. Whew!!!

With all of that, I forgot that I was low on fuel and left civilization without gassing up. 50km from Houston, I woke up in that regard and realised that I was staring at a bunch of long uphill stretches with no gas in sight and a gas gauge needle dipping deeply into the red. This was the first time I have ever come close to running out of gas and I figured I’d used up all my luck for the day. Both the GPS and the Milepost were in agreement that the nearest gas station in either direction was too far away.

So, you can imagine that when I saw a sign in the distance announcing gas, I thought it was a mirage. 😀

As it turns out, it was a pump on a native reserve, not a proper gas station. But there was a sign announcing prices for status and non-status folks, so I figured I could gas up there. The pump was in the middle of a perfectly-sized roundabout, full-serviced, and offered the cheapest gas I’d seen since Whitehorse (1.03).

I wound up being there almost an hour seeing as my credit card would not go through after several attempts. I called the company to see if there was a security hold on the card, but no. The very helpful person I spoke to suggested that the problem might be with the POS terminal, not my card. The attendant was a young gal fairly new on the job and I coached her on how to call for POS support. Sure enough, there was a glitch with their system and she was walked through the process of resetting the terminal. My card went through fine after. Had the problem been on my end, I would have used an alternate method of payment, but since the problem was theirs and it was more convenient to pay with my credit card than with another method I had no problem with the time the transaction took. Moreover, I think I did the girl a favour showing her what I knew about POS machines.

Like the day before, I pushed on in search of a non-advertised RV park or other legal overnighting option, but found none. I reached the end of the Cassiar and turned east onto Yellowhead highway 16, which also does not permit boondocking. Here, the reason is obvious with frequent billboards reminding people, especially women, that the road is nicknamed ‘The Highway of Tears’ because many young women have disappeared on it. There is a strong possibility that a serial killer is stalking this desolate stretch of highway.

The sun was very low in the sky by the time I passed Vanderhoof, so I decided to just take the plunge and limped all the way to the Walmart in Prince George, covering in total that day more than seven hundred kilometres!

There were signs at the Walmart that overnight parking is not permitted, but there were so many RVs parked that I just ignored the signs. I’m such a rebel!!!

It was COLD in Prince George and I turned on the furnace for the first time. It would have been nice the other nights, but this night it was no luxury.

I didn’t sleep at all; it was just too light, noisy, and COLD. I was cranky and just wanted to get out of civilization. Last time I was in Prince George I stayed for a few days at Les Doll’s place, but that detour didn’t fit in with my itinerary this time around. I instead decided to go back to the Chasm and spend two nights there.

The morning was spent running errands, including a quick run into Canadian Tire where I actually ran into Les. What are the odds?!

It was sooo good to be back on the road, even with the construction coming out of Prince George. It was nice in a way to be back in familiar territory, especially since I was out of fresh water and driving with full black and grey tanks. My first stop of the day was going to be Quesnel, which has some of the best RV facilities in the west; a large day parking area, dump station, and potable water pump, all free. Taking on water was fine, but my holding tanks were frozen solid!

From Quesnel, I drove straight back to the Chasm, knowing I was racing the light. I pulled into the turnoff at bang on six. The turnoff was in worse shape than it was in the spring, very muddy and without a single level spot. I unhooked and drove Miranda into an area below the turnoff with a couple of fairly level places to park if you don’t mind doing a bit of a dance with your RV to get into the right position. I didn’t mind the work, finding this spot more suitable for a long stay than is the turnoff.

I spent a quiet evening reading and watching a movie. I had a rare good night’s sleep.

The next morning was bright and cold… and my fresh water tank was frozen solid. I had to laugh. I grabbed a bucket and made a couple of trips down to the creek to get some slush to melt for washing purposes and as well as some drinking water from the spring to boil for drinking. Life without amenities suits me, I’ve discovered. Had I not needed to haul water I would have probably not had any exercise that morning.

It was a quiet, homey day, where I got caught up on my sewing (!) and cleaning. Some people walked past Miranda a few times to take in the view of the Chasm, but no one bothered me. I was relaxed and pleased that I was only a day away from the ferry terminal, two days from Croft’s. My journey was practically over and I could relax…

This impressive toadstool was by the side of the Cassiar turnoff

This impressive toadstool was by the side of the Cassiar turnoff













I would not want to run into that guy in the mask in a dark alley...

I would not want to run into that guy in the mask in a dark alley…












reaching the end of the Cassiar highway

reaching the end of the Cassiar highway



Moricetown Canyon

Moricetown Canyon

Moricetown Canyon

Moricetown Canyon

lunch stop in Smithers

lunch stop in Smithers

lunch stop in Smithers

lunch stop in Smithers

break at a rest area

break at a rest area


break at a rest area

break at a rest area

in case that's not clear, the monument to which this plaque is attached features a stone from an English castle reputed to be the birthplace of King Arthur!

in case that’s not clear, the monument to which this plaque is attached features a stone from an English castle reputed to be the birthplace of King Arthur!

Miranda and the toad at the Chasm

Miranda and the toad at the Chasm

the Chasm

the Chasm

truck's still there from last time...

truck’s still there from last time…

I love this view...

I love this view…

not a bad spot, really

not a bad spot, really


dawn of one of the worst days of my life

dawn of one of the worst days of my life

Lake McLeese to Just Shy of Prince George

Well, the one night at the Chasm wasn’t enough to catch up on so many weeks of poor sleep! I fell into bed at 9 last night and woke up at 8!!!

Checkout at McLeese Resort was a civilized noon, so I took my time. I dumped the tanks, topped up the fresh water, and actually spent a couple of hours reading before rolling out. With the way I felt yesterday afternoon, I had envisioned myself tearing out of there at first light, but it was almost 11 before I left.

This was one of those non-memorable days. I just drove about 150km with only three stops.

The first one was at the Walmart in Quesnel (Kweh-nell). This was my first time seeing a big box store since Chilliwack and it was like an oasis in the desert! I felt like a pioneer reaching an outpost with a fully stocked general store! I bought a new sewer hose and then moved two blocks down to a Canadian Tire, another welcome sight!, to get some clamps to effect the fresh water intake repair.

Getting out of Quesnel was very difficult as highway 97 was closed for some reason. I used a combination of Majel and following the crowds to get around the block.

Here is the view parked at the top of the big hill as you exit Quesnel:

view in Quesnel

view in Quesnel

Part of the route went over a narrow bridge where I scrapped one of Miranda’s side mirrors (it now has a nice yellow mark on it). If the adage of bad things happening in threes is true, I should be good until I get to the Yukon! 🙂

There is a string of RV parks on the south side of Prince George and I decided to try each one until I found internet compatible with my Mac. The first one worked out fine! I’m at the Bee Lazy RV Park (BEE because they do apiculture here). I had thought to stay a few days in the vicinity of Prince George, but this is one of the cheapest parks and it’s not cheap! Plus, you have to pay for internet! That said, the connection is so good (I can’t remember the last time I surfed so effortlessly) that I feel it’s worth it. I was just going to sail past Prince George and find lodging on the other side of town, but am glad I stopped before. A checking of my email revealed a tantalizing offer that could keep me here for a bit.  I will say no more on the subject at this time. 🙂

One of the reasons I was eager to stop this afternoon was that I could feel a storm rolling in. I had just enough time to get settled in here when the sky opened up. This was the sky just after arrival:

storm rolling in

storm rolling in